After an underwhelming Rising Stars Challenge and All-Star Saturday Night, the focal point of NBA All-Star Weekend arrived and delivered.
L.A. Clippers forward Blake Griffin shot a ridiculous 9-for-11 in the first quarter for 18 points. Scoring 18 points in a quarter was impressive, but what was more impressive was how Griffin scored. Griffin caught lobs and threw down dunk contest-worthy dunks to ignite the All-Star crowd in New Orleans.
In the second quarter the Pelicans’ own Anthony Davis stole the show with a slew of awe-inspiring dunks to give the West an 11-point lead. Davis scored 8 points in a little over four minutes.
The Western Conference set a record with the most points scored in a half by an All-Star team with 89. The previous record was 88 by the West in 2012. Both teams combined to score 165, the most points scored in a half in All-Star Game history.
The West led the East 89-76 at halftime.
In the midway point of the third quarter the West had a 15-point lead thanks to 30 points each from Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant. The East went on an 18-3 run to close the gap and end the third quarter down 123-126.
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving dazzled the All-Star audience and put the East on his back with crafty lay ups and dishes to put the West on their heels. Irving led the charge by scoring 24 points in the second half of the game while Carmelo Anthony chipped in with an All-Star record 8 three-pointers. None was more important than the one he drilled with 1:01 remaining in the game to give the East a 4-point lead.
The East defeated the West 163-155 to give the Eastern Conference its first All-Star victory since 2010. There were many amazing performances in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game. On the losing squad Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant contributed 38 points apiece, while in the East Carmelo Anthony dropped 30. It was Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving that was named Most Valuable Player after posting 31 points, 14 assists, and 5 rebounds.
In the end the 2014 NBA All-Star Game was enjoyable. It was chocked full of your typical hot-dogging early on, but the fourth quarter was competitive and exciting. It’s always a pleasure to see some of the best athletes on Earth competing on the court at the same time for just one day out of the year.